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College suspends Christian philosopher for expressing ‘aversion’ to homosexuality on Facebook

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

MONTREAL, Canada, February 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Christian philosophy professor and award-winning lecturer at a post-secondary institution has been suspended for remarks he made on social media about homosexuality.

Jean Laberge, a philosophy teacher at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal since 1994, has been placed on leave pending sanctions by college administration. 

Laberge posted a note on Facebook on January 17 where he said that he had “aversion” and “distaste” for homosexuals, reported Radio-Canada. He spoke of “fear” and his lack of comprehension for homosexuality while also saying he “respected” the condition. This note no longer appears on Laberge’s Facebook page. 

The teacher was suspended on January 30 for what the cégep’s spokeswoman Guylaine Fortin is now calling “an extended period.” 

A cégep, unique to the educational system of the Canadian province of Quebec, is a post-secondary, pre-university college. Typically its teenage students attend for three years if they do not plan on going on to university and two years if they do. The Cégep du Vieux-Montréal is locally known as a predominantly left-wing institution. 

Contacted by Radio-Canada at his home last week, Jean Laberge said that he didn’t understand why he is being criticized for his writing published outside his work. 

"It is dictatorship, it is Big Brother, it does not make sense," he told them over the phone.   

The lecturer said that the college "is making a serious mistake" by suspending him and is applying "considerable prejudice" against him, denying him of his freedom of speech for comments he did not make in class. He told Radio-Canada that he had never shared his views on homosexuality with his students at the Cégep: “I have always observed a strict duty of silence,” he stated. 

However, he was quite clear with Radio-Canada about his feelings and beliefs.

"I have always been uncomfortable with homosexuality,” he said. “But I am not declaring war on homosexuals."

Laberge told the state-run media that homosexuality works against human flourishing.

"I have reason to think that homosexuality is a limited vision that does not lead to human fulfillment," he said. “I have the right not to favor homosexuality, and I invite people not to choose that path.” 

Laberge said he spoke as a Christian believer, and was not trying to convince anyone: “I’m just trying to make people think.” 

The philosopher appealed to his colleagues in the school’s Department of Philosophy to support his freedom of speech against the Cégep administration.  

"The motto of the 'open-minded' college is nothing but dust, false representation," he wrote to them in an email. 

Support, however, was not forthcoming. According to Radio-Canada, Laberge’s colleagues and students have been disturbed by his extracurricular writing for some time. 

In 2013 Laberge won an award from Quebec’s Ministry of Higher Education for his textbook, Apprendre à Philosopher (Learning to Philosophize)  On a post on a philosophy blog, Laberge revealed that he rediscovered his Catholic faith while pursuing a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Montreal.

“As Brian Leftow wrote, ‘I am a philosopher because I am a Christian’,” he wrote. “In our western rationalist culture, legatee of the Enlightenment, fundamentally anti-religious, it is not easy to be a Christian and a philosopher at the same time.” 

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